The Valhalla Beach Party is a fatbike-designed bikepacking route that winds through a mixed collection of gravel, dirt, and sand in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. It is named after the Valhalla Recreational Area, sand, and swimming spots along the route.
Route & Photos By: Dave Schlabowske
ROUTE AT A GLANCE
Fat bike recommended, but you could take your chances on mountain or gravel tires (50mm+) as well.
Riding a fatbike loaded with a tent and swimsuit is a fine way to explore The Northwoods. Both the summer heat and fall colors will lure you into this collection of waterfalls, lakes, and mixed trails. Starting and ending at the Valhalla View Pub & Grub, this route name pays homage to the Valhalla Recreational Area and all the sand and swimming spots along the route.
The perfect details for and end-to-end fatbike adventure have all been carefully scouted by Dave Schlabowske of Seeley, Wisconsin. Here you'll find a collage of insider tips on hidden waterfalls and where to get locally smoked fish. While wandering through off-grid trails, you'll never be far from incredible swimming as well as up-north townie vibes.
Route Note*: This route was designed specifically for fat bikes. It passes through very sandy sections of ATV trails which may be unrideable without fat tires. These sections can also be rerouted or walked if you're on wider gravel (50mm+) or mountain tires. If you're exploring the waterfalls, these add sections mixed with rooty single track and planked elevated paths.
If You Go, Here's What You Need to Know:
1. Camp on Lake Superior in Herbster and fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the sand. These spots get reserved early so make plans well ahead of time.
2. Plan on swimming because this route weaves in and around lakes and waterfalls for the entire distance. Several of them are at the end of fun rooty trails. Take your time and enjoy our wild waterways.
3. Quarry Beach outside of Port Wing has decadent sand, rocks, and one of the prettiest views of Lake Superior.
4. Hit the Tap Shack or Delta Diner on your drive up. These two spots are worth the drive on their own. The Diner is world famous for their breakfast and the Tap Shack is a perfect Friday night stop for smoked ribs and reggae.
5. Locally smoked fish can be purchased at Johnson's Store in Port Wing or at Halvorson Fisheries in Cornucopia.
Where to Camp
Food & Water
Food: This route can be done without packing meals and a stove. Because the route goes right through to the towns of Cornucopia, Herbster, and Port Wing, you can simply buy food as you're passing by grocery stores or restaurants.
Water: There's water all over the place in towns or by filtering at any one of the rivers, lakes, or waterfalls on this route.
1. When to ride: May - early October. Go early or late if you want to avoid mosquitoes. Fall colors are in late Sept-Oct. Wisconsin’s 9-day deer gun hunting season begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving. You may want to avoid the area during that period or wear blaze orange.
2. Prepare for bugs. In the summer, you’ll definitely experience mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks but in the cooler months, they’ll leave you alone.
3. Parking: We recommend calling ahead to park your car at the Valhalla View Pub & Grub overnight. But you could also call other restaurants, municipalities, or campground to inquire about leaving a vehicle overnight.
4. We recommend fat tired bikes for this route. There are some very sandy ATV sections. on this route that may not be rideable without fat tires. If you don't mind some hike-a-bike, then larger gravel tires 50mm+ may be fine for gravel roads which make up the majority of the route.
5. Beware of hunting season. Much of this route is in and around land that gets hunted during the fall. Be sure to take note of any active hunting seasons as it would be a good idea to avoid dispersed camping during gun hunting season.
6. Watch out for ATVs. This route includes several ATV routes. Bicycles can legally be ridden on 100% of the route but you’ll want to look out for speeding ATVs around tight corners.
Valhalla Beach Party Bikepacking Route Map:
Dave Schlabowske lives in Seeley, Wisconsin with his wife Liz and dog Cowboy. He is known for his bikepacking routes, unique cycling events, and work for the Wisconsin Bike Fed. To learn more about Dave, visit his website Life Above Eight.
Disclaimer: If you choose to ride this route, you do so at your own risk. You are 100% responsible for being prepared for all conditions and making sure that biking these routes is legal. Before riding, check local weather, road conditions, closures, and property ownership. Obey all traffic laws and follow land use restrictions. Do not ride these routes without proper safety equipment and navigational tools. The accuracy of these routes cannot be guaranteed neither can we guarantee that these routes are on public property. TheNxrth.com and its contributors are in no way liable for the personal injury or damage to property that may result from cycling this route or any other routes on this website.